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Part 2-FAIR ELECTIONS IN COLOMBIA MUST PRECEDE TRADE DEAL

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Uploaded on Apr 15, 2010

Part 2, Barbara Wood, CUPE

Electoral observers report fraud, illegal financing and armed groups marred first round of Colombia election.

NDP International trade Critic Peter Julian, Carleen Pickard of the Council of Canadians and Barbara Wood, a representative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. spoke at a press conference on April 13, 2010 to discuss the findings of an International Pre-Electoral Observation Mission to Colombia.

Carleen Pickard and Barbara Wood participated in the mission, which was in Colombia for the first round of elections. The presidential elections will be held on May 30 2010.

The Mission brought together 22 individuals with collective experience of electoral observation in eleven countries. The International Pre-Electoral Observation Mission is an effort led by Global Exchange, a U.S. NGO, with the participation of professionals, analysts and citizens of more than seven countries, including the U.S., Canada, Germany, UK and Mexico. From Feb. 3-15, the group conducted pre-electoral observation in Colombia, prior to the 2010 elections. The Mission divided into four teams to observe conditions in municipalities in the departments of Antioquia, Córdoba, Valle del Cauca and Santander.

The Missions report shows clear evidence that free and fair elections are not occurring in Colombia, said Julian. Given the major ongoing concerns about human rights violations, the severe obstacles in many regions in Colombia to free and fair elections and the Colombian governments inability to even sponsor free and fair elections, the Harper government should take a step back from this trade deal (C-2) and act on the trade committees recommendations from 2008 and proceed immediately to an independent and impartial human rights impact assessment on the Canada-Colombia trade deal.

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